WASHNGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying Sunday that it is “really unfortunate” that Gov. Greg Abbott has moved to ban vaccine mandates in the state of Texas.

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The nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said that the Republican governor’s decision to block businesses from requiring inoculations would damage public health since vaccines are the “most effective means” to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Fauci was largely encouraged by the downward trend of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths across the nation and suggested that vaccinated individuals could have a normal holiday season with others who have received the shot.

But he said that those who have not been vaccinated should continue to avoid gatherings and should wear a mask.

He also suggested that those who received a shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would likely have flexibility to get a booster from either Moderna or Pfizer.

The FDA advisory panel ruled last week that anyone 18 and up who had the J&J shot was eligible to get a booster.